Yangon to be hit with more blackouts
Due to decayed power lines, a surging demand for electricity and a constrained budget, the commercial capital will face the annual shortfalls, with the government beckpedalling on pledges to meet hot season quotas.
GET ready for the blackouts. A regional minister has acknowledged that decayed powerlines and a surging demand for electricity will once again leave the commercial capital in the dark.
Yangon Electricity Supply Corporation had hoped a handful of patchwork measures would help boost the supply but the lofty targets and mercurial promises of no more cuts have again evaporated in the face of the daunting task.
Daw Nilar Kyaw, the regional minister for electricity, industry and transportation, said yesterday that while the regional government is trying to supply enough electricity, distribution is hampered by the government’s budget.
After rainy season ends, Yangon will confront its annual problem of insufficient electricity. And to make matters worse, the government is unable to guarantee enough power to avoid the annual hot season shortage, the minister told parliament yesterday.
Daw Nilar Kyaw was responding in parliament to a question from lawmaker Daw Soe Pa Pa Hlaing (NLD; Pabedan) about the government’s preparations for hot season.
Last year, the onset of a spell of frequent blackouts in Yangon and other urban centres coincided with the swearing-in of the National League for Democracy government in late March, presenting one of the first of several legacy challenges to the fledgling leadership. The recurrent blackouts tested the patience of a public that has endured power shortages for decades.
Last month, the Union minister for electricity and energy had pledged an end to the blackouts exacerbating April’s blistering hear, and said that the total power generated in 2017 would exceed the demand before hot season kicks in. But regional minister Daw Nilar Kyaw backpedalled the boast, saying cuts would be forthcoming because of both transmission issues and a scrapped coal factory.
Currently, Yangon is supplied 300 megawatts of power per day through a consortium consisting of local companies National Infrastructure Holdings and MCM Pacific, and US companies APR Energy and Ace Resources Group. Ten companies are responsible for distributing electricity to 15 of the region’s townships.
“Although we have selected companies, we still need to improve infrastructure for electricity transmission and distribution. This infrastructure depends on our budget,” Daw Nilar Kyaw said.
She added that a coal factory that was slated to produce electricity for Kyauktan township has been cancelled after public backlash.
“The Yangon Region government won’t build the coal factory after the people made their objection clear,” she said.
YESC officials announced in May that Yangon is responsible for half the country’s electricity use, with the region expected to consume between 1350 and 1400MW in the coming year.
Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thin told parliament yesterday that there are 61 engines and turbines operating under state and privately owned companies in Yangon which can produce more than 400MW.
The country’s total electricity consumption last summer exceeded 2730MW, while all power stations generated 2450MW combined, according to authorities.
Decayed power lines hamper efficient transmission, contributing to the blackouts.